LAST EDITED ON 02-21-10 AT 01:01 PM (EST)
Well, here we are again. Once more we find ourselves in front of the TV, unable to avoid the suckitude. We know this show is the Lindsey Vonn of Reality TV, having spent the last 19 seasons mostly going downhill. And yet we keep watching.
This is the “green” season. Everything has been recycled: the DAW’s, the challenges, even the location. I realize that familiarity is compelling. It’s what keeps us coming back to Grandma’s every Christmas. You know what I’m talking about: we know ahead of time Uncle Ted is just going to dive into the Glögg, same as always, and, after freak-dancing with Great-Aunt Ethyl, he’ll spend Christmas Eve on the stoop in half a Santa-suit asking the carolers if they want to sit on his lap and tell him what bad girls they’ve been. Great entertainment, and please pass the popcorn. So we keep watching, solely because of the mockage.
And indeed there will be mockage. Oh yes there will.
We begin, as Landru used to say, with the Previouslying. Last week, we learned that Survivor had returned to the scene of its previous crime, Samoa—or, as we call it in these more politically correct times, Caramel DeLite. And my sincere apologies to the half of you that completely missed that joke or the reason why it’s particularly relevant this week.
As has long been known, the teams were carefully hand-picked from past seasons and divided into two teams: the Hoes and the Vains.
(Interesting, isn’t it, that the word “villain” is a combination of “ill” and “vain.”)
Now, even though I have trouble telling the teams apart (let’s face it; they’re all Vain Hoes), it seems to me that they were pretty evenly divided.
• Both teams have their share of insufferable blowhards.
• One team has a person who stole shoes, another has someone who burned socks.
• One team has a skinny, annoying platinum blonde, and the other has a slightly-less-skinny-but-equally-annoying platinum blonde.
• One team has a Shallow (heh) while the other has a Bone ‘em and a Woodcock (heh heh).
• One team has Tyson, the other got chicken.
• And of course, with them all comes that familiarity thing, although there were a couple of “Who?”s--One team has DanielleWho? and the other has CandiceWho?—all we’d need is Daltry and Townshend and we’d have a halftime show.
Our Vain Hoes arrive by helicoptor and dramatic music (not Ride of the Valkyries, alas) and already we get glimpses of their delusional world. Grizzly Rupert of the Barbaric Yawp (which shortens nicely to “Grawp”—only appropriate, since he could pass for Hagrid’s younger brother) braks about honor and integrity and good always winning. This from someone who with honor and integrity filched some shoes and was buh-byed by folks over on the Not-Good tribe.
And Jerri thinks she’s the Mother Teresa of the Vain tribe. Interesting. The Mother I would have gone for was probably Grendel’s.
The Hoes are off to a great start, winning the initial reward challenge, despite attempts to disarm Steph, de-bra Sugar, and make Grawp taste the agony of de feet. The Vains seem to have one brain among the ten of them, with most of it being in BRob. RussHell jumps back to the same old strategy that led so well to his humiliation last season, only this time the dumbass girls aren’t so dumbass and see right through him as if he were wearing Tyson’s Speedos. Poverty agrees to RussHell’s advances, knowing that she’s making an alliance with the devil.
Side note here: don’tcha think Poverty is an excellent metaphor for Survivor in general—all hot and exotic, but you wouldn’t want to actually, you know, do it for fear of disease.
And of course we probably don’t even have to mention the ookiest budding romance in the history of Survivor. Two people whose spawn would probably resemble some sort of slimy Pokemon. Now, believe it or not, I actually approve of such unions. Without them, we would have never known the glories of Ancient Greek Tragedies.
At the Immunity challenge, the Hoes demonstrate that they are all brawn and no grey matter, opening a huge lead only to be smoked in the puzzle, led by…well, that was part of the problem, wasn’t it. The Hoes vote out the head honch-ho, and there was (sing it with me) “No Sugar tonight in my Coffee, no Sugar tonight in JT.”
BRob notes that his tribe seems to have crybabyitis (more on that later), and that it’s making him physically sick. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one. We end the Previouslying with Randy (or was it Tyson? Couldn’t tell without the speedos) saying, “Paradise, my ass. “ Well put. As we oh-dee-oh-dee-oh-day-DAH through the credits.
Back from the commercials we realize we’re in the Vain tribe because of the ominous music. The Vains are in disarray, mostly because they’re morons. Except for Tyson, who’s a Mor(m)on. Randy notes that the first shelter was pretty good, but they’ve gotten progressively worse. Kinda like another metaphor for the show, no?
BRob argues with Poverty about the shelter, while Courtney hopes that BRob doesn’t die from overwork. Once again, this is our fine editors at SEG’s favorite literary device at work: foreshadowing, anyone? Randy, who can always be counted on for a ham-on-wry opinion, notes that Courtney is “a waitress in NYC, and she’s doing construction now.” Well, actually she’s doing Stephen Fishbach now, but he is certainly a piece of work, so that probably amounts to the same thing.
We switch to some cheesy cowboy-like music (to go with our cheesy Texan cowboy) and change venues to the Hoes, where they are One Big Happy. Best Survivors ever! Ain’t they great! Naturally, here we have SEG’s other favorite literary device: irony. And indeed, among all the Kumbahya-ing, Grawp notes that Steph has got to go. Steph agrees there’s some tension—evidently Grawp didn’t get the memo that only she is allowed to have an opinion. And she has to keep quiet about hers. Hmm. Clearly she and the rest of the world have different definitions of “quiet.”
Back to the Vains. BRob observes that he didn’t want to be the dictator this time around. Well, Rob, you’re only off by a couple of syllables. We jump to another thing that makes Survivor barely watchable, especially early on: girls in bikinis. Of course, on Courtney, it looks like two rubber bands on a pencil. They discuss the sorry state of the tribe, although C(ockr)oach observes that he’s in the Zen Zone and is unaffected by the meltdown around him. As if on cue, BRob promptly collapses. Would that we all could do likewise.
Jerri runs to the rescue, in front of a camera-dude who captures it all. Nice to know that if you’re ever lucky enough to get on this show, the cameras will blithely keep filming while you’re falling off a cliff or something. Reminds me of Gale Gayley’s line to her cameraman in the movie Hero (ironically enough), as a person jumps off a building: “Please tell me you got that!?”
So again we get see the Medical Team to the rescue. Didn’t this used to be more exciting? It’s sort of like your first glimpse at a nipple. Back in Australia, the sudden revelation of what you always knew must be there but was mysteriously hidden from view had a titillating effect. Now it’s all, “been there, licked that,” ho hum.
(And yes, my SO is indeed a psychologist. Why do you ask?)
Some interesting and instructive dialogue follows:
Jeff: Rob. Can you hear me? Come to the light! Look into the light!
Rob: God, is that you?
Jeff: (to medical personnel) Uh oh, it’s worse than I thought. Dude thinks he’s Colby.
Rob: Is this real life?
After the commercials, we discover that Rob is ok, even if he’s clumsily sucking on his water bottle like a calf would its mother’s teat. (Yes, yes, my SO does give me free therapy at home. Why do you keep asking?) Rob observes that the funny thing about being unconscious is that you don’t remember anything. Well, Rob, that seems to be part of the definition, now, don’t it?
But he’s onto something. That’s probably why I don’t remember the Dr. Seuss twins, CandiceWho? and DanielleWho?--I must have been unconscious during their seasons.
Anyway Probst, not a doctor but evidently plays one on TV, says Rob looks worse than he is. After some weepy music, we get the diagnosis from BRob himself: crybabyitis. Which we’ve seen before, just about every season (most notably from RussHell at last season’s reunion show). BRob is given the ok to continue, with strict instructions to stop trying to be the good guy. Hmm. Clearly we have conflicting definitions of the word “good.”
Back at the Vain camp, he gets a heroes’ welcome (which tells us that even they can’t tell which tribe they're on). They know that he has most of their brain, which will be needed in the upcoming challenge.
Villains see that Sugar was voted out, and Jerri hands back Immunity Idol after kissing it. You know, now that I look at it, it does indeed resemble C(ockr)oach.
The challenge is recycled from Tocantins: roll heavy crates to a platform, then arrange them into steps that spell out tribal name. Winner gets immunity as well as reward: tarp, rope, nails. Randy & Courtney sit out for the Vains, Grawp for the Hoes.
The Hoes have a strategy: let JT talk, listen to JT, one voice, yada yada yada. Yeah, like that’s gonna happen. Foreshadowing and irony again.
As before, the Hoes jump out to a big lead. First pair of pushers is JT & Cerie vs. BRob & DanielleWho?, the last of which has trouble reaching the crate because her fake boobs stick out so far. In quick succession, we get Sharkkilla & Candice vs. Tyson and Sandra; Cheddar & Steph vs. Jerri & C(ockr)oach (ew, my eyes!); and James & Amanda vs. RussHell & Poverty. As she’s pushing, Poverty gets slapped on the face with some wood. Heh. Like that hasn’t happened before.
Finishing up the pushing part of the challenge, we get JT & Tom vs. BRob & Tyson and finally James & Cheddar vs. RussHell & C(ockr)oach. Randy suggests that they roll it on Grawp’s toe. You know, Randy’s starting to grow on me. Which probably means he’ll be voted out soon, alas.
As the story arc predicted, the Hoes flunk the spelling portion of the exam, while BRob becomes the dic(tator) and soldiers his charges to victory. The Hoes made the fatal mistake of trying to channel Billy Gilman.
During the challenge post-mortem, Steph evidently doesn’t like to be reminded that she’s survivor’s biggest loser ever. She thinks that Grawp has it out for her because she threatens his popularity. Um, yeah, that’s it. Couldn’t possibly be because you’re annoying and you suck at challenges, could it?
And Steph, here’s a clue: to paraphrase Yogi Berra, nobody likes anyone who’s so popular. We keep hoping that all y’all collapse in front of camera-dudes who just keep filming.
Steph reasserts that her strategy involves just trying to say as little as possible. Hmm. We clearly have different definitions of “little.” James switches from Billy Gilman to 3 Doors Down as we head into the commercials.
Back at camp, the Hoes start playing the Blame Game. (Sing it with me: Steph, Steph, bo-beph, banana-fana fo-feph…) James is still stuck on the Billy Gilman thing. Sharkkilla observes that he’d love to tell James what a winner is and what a loser is and where James fits into that equation. Dude. You mind-raped Ian into committing ritual seppuku. And you want to be a motivational speaker?
James, meanwhile, can’t wait for Survivor to be over so he can go back to digging other people’s graves, rather than his own. He reminds CandiceWho? what a loser Steph is, but Candice, to her credit, does a better job of keeping her mouth shut than Steph. Or maybe it’s because she’s too nice to say anything negative. Maybe Candice can’t diss.
Over at the Vains, Jerri notes that she and the tarp have matching outfits. BRob basks in victory and allows others to touch his clam. (heh.) Of course, RussHell—he of the hat with the elastic band—can’t stand the attention to be anywhere else, so he proclaims himself to be the King of Caramel DeLite. Hmmm. Clearly, we have conflicting definitions of the word “king.”
Anyways, to compete with the Sharkkilla on the other tribe, and the Clamkilla on his own, he decides to become Chickenkilla. Evidently, RussHell knows what to do with his spear. Who knew?
Back to the Hoes, the vote has become problematic. JT notes that Sugar was easy. (heh. double heh.) This one, he says, is harder. (heh. heh heh.)
JT further reveals that there are essentially three threesomes in this tribe:
* Cheddar, Steph, and the Sharkkilla
* James, Amanda, and Grawp
* JT, Cerie, and CandiceWho?
JT knows that he’ll have to burn some bridges, because he will have revealed his hand. Sharkkilla sees the writing on the wall (yes, I’m trying to see how many clichés I can pack into a couple of sentences; they’re multiplying like the plague. Or crybabyitis.) and is convinced that Cerie and Candice need to be pressured to join their alliance.
Steph talks to Cerie (hey Steph, how’s that “quiet” thing working out for ya?) while Sharkkilla works on CandiceWho? When Cerie and CandiceWho? compare notes, Cerie observes that they have some common denominators. And I was told there wouldn’t be any math. When Candice wonders who (No, Candice, you’re the Who?!) should be voted out, Cerie takes a page out of Sandra’s As-Long-As-It’s-Not-Me playbook. Evidently, what will be, will be. Que Cerie Cerie.
Since Jeff at the end says that this tribal council speaks for itself, we’ll just let the transcript take over the summary here.
Jeff: Y’all suck
JT: I feel bad that I wasn’t a Dic(tator). Not like BRob is. Man, dude can sure tate some dicks.
James: I gotta one track mind, so I’m gonna harp on my Billy Gilman theme until I get a reaction.
Steph: Me. Me me me me. ME. Me me me me. (eye-roll)
James: This is what I’ve been sayin.
Le Grand Fromage du Texas: I gotta inject something here with vapid sincerity. I’m responsible for a mess o’ 8-yr-olds in Texas named “Cheddar.” They’re counting on me to be their role model.
Sharkkilla: I agree. As a former firefighter and future motivational speaker, I need to maintain my image as someone with integrity and loyalty, hoping that everyone will forget my bullying of Ian in Palau for a million bucks.
Steph: Yeah, even though Tom and I are friends and he slit my throat ‘n all? I’m so glad he didn’t do his mentalist thing with me, or I’d be on Shutter Island by now.
Jeff: I’m not a host, but I play one on tv, so I gotta ask some of the same questions I asked last week. What about past relationships, Cerie?
Cerie: Thanks, Jeff. Since I believe in running a metaphor into the ground, let me add that Amanda cut my throat as well.
Amanda: I’m legitimately concerned. I’m nervous hearing my name. The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. And if I don’t make it to the end, how in the world am I going to get a chance to embarrass myself once again in front of a jury?
And with that, it’s time to vote. Steph, as predicted, gets her torch snuffed, but not her mouth. I gotta agree with James here: Steph, STFU. Getting Survivor advice from you is like getting advice from the Cubs on how to build a World-Series winner. Buh-Bye.
Steph’s closing words: Me. Me me me me. ME. Me me me me. (eye-roll)
Next week: more of what makes this show barely watchable: wrestling in the mud, wet bikinis and pixilation.
Thanks as always for reading.
etf grammar and speeeling